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Midseason report: UCLA

UCLA Bruins

Record: 3-3 (1-2 Pac-10)

UCLA certainly rates as the most inconsistent team in the conference. The Bruins looked terrible in their first two games, losing at a Kansas State team they pushed around the year before and dropping a humiliating 35-zip decision at home to Stanford. The vultures were circling. Then they beat No. 23 Houston and, most shocking, crushed Texas 34-12 on the road. A late show of force against Washington State gave UCLA a third consecutive win.

At that point, everyone started praising the new pistol offense and celebrating a potential UCLA return to relevancy. Then: Splat. UCLA and the pistol gets dominated at California, 35-7.

The Bruins defense hasn't been great, but the real issue going forward is the a passing game -- the Bruins don't have one. They rank 118th in the nation in passing. While quarterback Kevin Prince flashed potential as a passer last year, he has struggled with consistency this year.

It's unlikely the Bruins will able to make much noise in the conference, or even achieve bowl eligibility without better passing.

Offensive MVP: Running back Johnathan Franklin has been a revelation in the Bruins new offense. He's 16th in the nation with 113.17 yards rushing per game with five touchdowns. He had eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three consecutive games -- including 216 yards versus Washington State -- before the pistol (and Franklin) misfired at California. Ball security is an issue. Franklin has fumbled in each of the past three games.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Akeem Ayers is one of the nation's best playmakers on defense. The junior and likely high NFL draft pick, has 36 tackles, with 6.5 coming for a loss, including three sacks. He also has two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Wherever Ayers is, bad stuff seems to happen to offenses.